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Woman who opens food at the grocery store before paying has started a huge debate over shopping ethics

Is it okay to snack on groceries while you shop?

snacking while shopping, grocery shopping, shopping, cecily bauchmann tiktok
@cecilybauchmann/TikTok

We may never reach an agreement on this.

To snack, or not to snack while grocery shopping? That is the question. At least, that’s been the question for as long as grocery stores have existed: Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer through "hanger" and cravings, or take into your arms precious sustenance that fuels you through the shopping trip, so long as you pay for it later.

Apparently, there is very little gray area with this subject. People seem to have very, very strong opinions as to whether or not eating food at the grocery store is appropriate behavior.

Case in point—the heated comments that were ignited after TikTok influencer Cecily Bauchmann filmed herself placing an empty sushi container on the checkout conveyor belt.

“I also opened this in store. I’m sorry, I was so hungry!” Bauchmann explains to the cashier through a giggle.

As she revealed in her caption, this is a regular shopping routine. “Me every time at the grocery store,” she wrote. “Opening food at the grocery store is a normal thing.”

@cecilybauchmann OPENING FOOD IS A NORMAL THING AT THE GROCERY STORE K?🍓✨#relatablemom #relatablemomlife #groceryshopping #groceryhaul #grocerystore ♬ original sound - Cecily Bauchmann

And thus, the war was waged.

“My mama never let us do this and I get lowkey embarrassed when anyone I’m with does this :///” one person wrote.

“Idc how hungry I am, I'd never do this,” another wrote.

One even called out: “It isn’t mine until I pay for it. In my head it’s considered stealing.”

On the other hand, several sided with Bauchmann, saying that they do it themselves when hunger strikes.

“I do that too. If you pay for it at the end then I see no problem,” one person commented.

Many noted that for parents with hungry (and impatient) kiddos, pre-checkout snacking is the only real option for a smooth shopping experience.

“My mom only does this sometimes if we go grocery shopping and my lil siblings really want it,” one person shared.

“I let my child eat a bag of goldfish we hadn’t paid for yet while at Target. I didn’t know this was a controversy?” another seconded.

Even cashiers couldn’t seem to agree.

“When I’m a cashier I get annoyed sometimes when people hand me their trash to scan,” one noted.

Another argued, “I’m a cashier, it’s pretty common lol. I just offer to throw it away for them if it’s empty.”

Still, another wrote, “I worked at a grocery store for 5 years. As long as you don’t eat food that’s cost is by weight and you don’t make a mess it’s fine.”

Zero consensus to be had.

Morals and etiquette aside, what’s the legal stance on this? In the UK, the answer is definitive. It is against the law to snack while you shop. But in the United States, things aren’t so well defined.

According to Betty Wang, attorney and contributor to Find Law, U.S. law requires two elements in order to define an activity as shoplifting. One, taking the item (duh) and two, intentionally evading checking the item out.

Therefore, the argument of “as long as they pay for it later” does somewhat hold up in court, so to speak. However, things change when an item is priced by weight, since you are technically not paying for that which was already consumed.

Also, most stores have individual discretion known as shopkeeper's privilege, meaning that, legally speaking, there really is more of a gray area. Basically, unless you get called out for the snacking by an employee or loss-prevention officer, it’s pretty fair game.


Will there ever be a general consensus on this? Maybe not. We humans have very different moral codes a lot of the time, even when it comes to mundane activities. Sometimes you never know what seemingly harmless thing to you is actually a social faux pas to someone else. But hey, it keeps things interesting.

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10 anti-holiday recipes that prove the season can be tasty and healthy

Balance out heavy holiday eating with some lighter—but still delicious—fare.

Albertson's

Lighten your calorie load with some delicious, nutritious food between big holiday meals.

True

The holiday season has arrived with its cozy vibe, joyous celebrations and inevitable indulgences. From Thanksgiving feasts to Christmas cookie exchanges to Aunt Eva’s irresistible jelly donuts—not to mention leftover Halloween candy still lingering—fall and winter can feel like a non-stop gorge fest.

Total resistance is fairly futile—let’s be real—so it’s helpful to arm yourself with ways to mitigate the effects of eating-all-the-things around the holidays. Serving smaller amounts of rich, celebratory foods and focusing on slowly savoring the taste is one way. Another is to counteract those holiday calorie-bomb meals with some lighter fare in between.

Contrary to popular belief, eating “light” doesn’t have to be tasteless, boring or unsatisfying. And contrary to common practice, meals don’t have to fill an entire plate—especially when we’re trying to balance out heavy holiday eating.

It is possible to enjoy the bounties of the season while maintaining a healthy balance. Whether you prefer to eat low-carb or plant-based or gluten-free or everything under the sun, we’ve got you covered with these 10 easy, low-calorie meals from across the dietary spectrum.

Each of these recipes has less than 600 calories (most a lot less) per serving and can be made in less than 30 minutes. And Albertsons has made it easy to find O Organics® ingredients you can put right in your shopping cart to make prepping these meals even simpler.

Enjoy!

eggs and green veggies in a skillet, plate of baconNot quite green eggs and ham, but closeAlbertsons

Breakfast Skillet of Greens, Eggs & Ham

273 calories | 20 minutes

Ingredients:

1 (5 oz) pkg baby spinach

2 eggs

1 clove garlic

4 slices prosciutto

1/2 medium yellow onion

1 medium zucchini squash

1/8 cup butter, unsalted

1 pinch crushed red pepper

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

bow of cauliflower ham saladGet your cauliflower power on.Albertsons

Creamy Cauliflower Salad with Ham, Celery & Dill

345 calories | 20 minutes

1/2 medium head cauliflower

1 stick celery

1/4 small bunch fresh dill

8 oz. ham steak, boneless

1/2 shallot

1/4 tspblack pepper

1/4 tsp curry powder

2 tsp Dijon mustard

1/4 tsp garlic powder

3 Tbsp mayonnaise

1/8 tsp paprika

2 tsp red wine vinegar

1/2 tsp salt

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

tofu on skewers on a plate with coleslawPlant-based food fan? This combo looks yums. Albertsons

Grilled Chili Tofu Skewers with Ranch Cabbage, Apple & Cucumber Slaw

568 calories | 20 minutes

1 avocado

1/2 English cucumber

1 (12 oz.) package extra firm tofu

1 Granny Smith apple

3 Tbsp (45 ml) Ranch dressing

1/2 (14 oz bag) shredded cabbage (coleslaw mix)

2 tsp chili powder

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp salt

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

frittata in a cast iron skilletSometimes you just gotta frittata.Albertsons

Bell Pepper, Olive & Sun-Dried Tomato Frittata with Parmesan

513 calories | 25 minutes

6 eggs

1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted

2 oz Parmesan cheese

1 red bell pepper

1/2 medium red onion

8 sundried tomatoes, oil-packed

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp Italian seasoning

1/4 tsp salt

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

plate with slices of grilled chicken and a caprese saladCaprese, if you please.Albertsons

Balsamic Grilled Chicken with Classic Caprese Salad

509 calories | 25 minutes

3/4 lb chicken breasts, boneless skinless

1/2 small pkg fresh basil

1/2 (8 oz pkg) fresh mozzarella cheese

1 clove garlic

3 tomatoes

1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

4 3/4 pinches black pepper

1 1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

3/4 tsp salt

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

four stuffed mushrooms on a plateThese mushrooms look positively poppable.Albertsons

Warm Goat Cheese, Parmesan & Sun-Dried Tomato Stuffed Mushrooms

187 calories | 35 minutes

1/2 lb cremini mushrooms

1 clove garlic

1/2 (4 oz) log goat cheese

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

2 sundried tomatoes, oil-packed

1 1/4 pinches crushed red pepper

1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

1/4 tsp Italian seasoning

2 pinches salt

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

plate with open English muffin with goat cheese and sliced baby tomatoes on topMove over, avocado toast. English muffin pizzas have arrived.Albertsons

English Muffin Pizzas with Basil Pesto, Goat Cheese & Tomatoes

327 calories | 10 minutes

3 Tbsp (45 ml) basil pesto

2 English muffins

1/2 (4 oz) log goat cheese

1/2 pint grape tomatoes

3/4 pinch black pepper

2 pinches salt

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

pita pocket on a plate filled with veggies, meat and cheeseThis pita pocket packs a colorful punch.Albertsons

Warm Pita Pocket with Turkey, Cheddar, Roasted Red Peppers & Parsley

313 calories | 20 minutes

1/4 (8 oz) block cheddar cheese

1/2 bunch Italian (flat-leaf) parsley

4 oz oven roasted turkey breast, sliced

1/2 (12 oz) jar roasted red bell peppers

1 whole grain pita

3/4 pinch black pepper

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

2 tsp mayonnaise

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

plate with toast smeared with avocado and topped with prosciuttoDid we say, "Move over, avocado toast?" What we meant was "Throw some prosciutto on it!" Albertsons

Avocado Toast with Crispy Prosciutto

283 calories | 10 minutes

1 avocado

2 slices prosciutto

2 slices whole grain bread

1 5/8 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

1/8 tsp garlic powder

1/8 tsp onion powder

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

bowl of chili with cheese and green onions on topVegetarian chili with a fall twistAlbertsons

Black Bean & Pumpkin Chili with Cheddar

444 calories | 30 minutes

2 (15 oz can) black beans

1/2 (8 oz ) block cheddar cheese

2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes

2 cloves garlic

2 green bell peppers

1 small bunch green onions (scallions)

1 (15 oz) can pure pumpkin purée

1 medium yellow onion

1/2 tsp black pepper

5 7/8 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp cumin, ground

1 tsp salt

1 Tbsp virgin coconut oil

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

For more delicious and nutritious recipes, visit albertsons.com/recipes.

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